Kinect Sports: Season Two got another airing over the weekend, when PAX Prime opened its mammoth expo halls in Seattle. For those of you not within striking distance of the Emerald City, we’ve put together a perfectly packaged roundup of everything that went on.
After Tennis and Darts recently debuted at Gamescom, it was finally Baseball’s turn to step up and get some attention. Visitors to the Kinect booth got the chance to try out batting and pitching using Season Two‘s improved motion control and new voice commands.
Reactions from the showfloor were positive, with Baseball even managing to convert a sceptical Anthony Gallegos from IGN:
“After a few swings with a virtual baseball bat I found myself smiling, joking with the other player, and — dare I admit it — having fun… If the rest of ‘Kinect Sports: Season Two’ is as approachable and well-functioning as baseball, then fans of the original have a lot to look forward to.”
Constant from Machinima was similarly won over when he met up with Producer Harry to talk Baseball and find out how Season Two layers complexity for different types of gamers:
While Harry and the team continued to work up a Baseball-induced sweat in Seattle, our UK contingent released a handful of new Baseball screens and some new gameplay footage that promptly started popping up all over the interweb. Like here, here and here.
We’re told that G4 and a few other sites will be posting their own interviews and hands-on previews shortly, so keep ‘em peeled!
Time for one last farewell to Cologne’s Gamescom show for this year. Microsoft PR sent over a walloping great load of photos from the event, so we thought we’d pass some along and give you a chance to see the sights from the comfort of your creaky old armchair. Sights specific to Kinect and Kinect Sports: Season Two, obviously, not just any old bunch of random sights.
So here we go, a wall of images from the Xbox Play Day, the Community Party and the Gamescom show floor itself. Dig in.
George Andreas (Lead Designer) was at this year’s Gamescom in Cologne, demonstrating Kinect Sports: Season Two and giving gamers their first taste of Tennis and Darts in action. With our loyal readers in mind, we smuggled a notepad and pen into George’s rucksack and threatened him with terrible punishments if he failed to turn in a diary of his adventures in Deutschland. Enjoy!
We started the week-long event by visiting five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis at her hotel to give her some ‘expert’ tuition on Kinect Sports: Season Two‘s Tennis before the following day’s publicity shoot at the Xbox Play Day. I must admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew she was obviously a huge tennis star, but wasn’t sure how she would take to Rare’s spin on the real sport she once dominated so impressively.
After a few practice rallies, Martina was soon getting the hang of the game. She then looked at me with a steely determination in her eyes and asked if I was the best at this game… game on! I consider myself to be a highly competitive person given the right circumstances, but it was so ingrained in Martina that she wanted to win and win big. With very little tuition, she soon learned some of the more advanced tricks and techniques and we ended up playing for over half an hour. Needless to say, Martina was well prepared for the next day’s event.
She swept away the competition at the show and was determined to seek out a rematch with me between her publicity commitments. We found time and started a match. She beat me. In full view of a cheering crowd that had gathered to watch. Oh dear. Well done Martina.
Gamescom is done and dusted for another year, and Kinect Sports: Season Two has been getting plenty of play time with media types and gamers alike. Don’t worry if you couldn’t front the plane ticket to Cologne, because here’s our handy roundup of everything you need to know.
Microsoft kicked things off a day early with their pre-show Xbox Play Day event, where attendees got the chance to see and play all the newest games, and talk to the people behind them. Grand Slam supremo and all-round lovely lady, Martina Hingis made an appearance and tried her hand (literally) at a game of Tennis on Kinect Sports: Season Two. And by the sounds of things, she gave it the thumbs up!
The showfloor officially opened its doors the following day, and Graeme Boyd (aka AceyBongos) from Xbox Europe treated us to a video tour of Microsoft’s booth and stopped for a chat with Rare’s very own George Andreas. Meanwhile, back at Rare HQ, we released some new footage of Tennis and Darts in action, along with a smörgåsbord of new screenshots to whet your appetite before the game’s October release.
Elsewhere on the interweb, Digital Spy were impressed with Season Two’s improved motion tracking and new voice commands, while IGN praised the game’s ‘awesome’ and ‘eclectic’ soundtrack of licensed music. Joe Nickolls from BigPark stepped up to the oche with Gamespot for a game of Darts, and Kinect Sports‘ impressive sales figures got some well-deserved attention.
Expect lots more Kinect Sports: Season Two coverage in the coming week, as our travelling roadshow moves to Seattle for PAX.
Starting a new job is one of those pant-soiling ‘life events’ we all have to endure from time to time. Getting to grips with new responsibilities whilst trying to remember names in a sea of unfamiliar faces is never easy. But after my inaugural week on the web & community team, I think I’m pretty much over the worst of it. My name’s Neal, and here are a few highlights from my first five days at Rare.
Monday 1st August:
First dilemma of the day… WHAT TO WEAR? Decide that my Skeletor t-shirt is probably too risqué for a first day, so I opt for a sobering grey number instead. Sensible.
Horrendous tailbacks on the A5 mean I’m sat in traffic for twenty infuriating minutes. A torrent of muttered expletives later, I realise there’s been an accident and start to feel a bit guilty and sad.
Arrive on time by the skin of my teeth, and after a whistle-stop tour of Rare HQ (think Center Parcs with less swimwear), I’m shown to my desk. A
small cosy, ground floor spot in Barn A with stunning views of, er… the car park. My home for the next three months.
Cue a day of general ‘familiarisation’-type shenanigans, introductions to various people I’ve already forgotten the names of (sorry) and a bit of work-related Facebooking for good measure.
Oh… and a man from the IT department took my photograph. That was awkward.
Tuesday 2nd August:
Traffic was a breeze today, so I arrive in good time. Feelings of well-being shortlived after I narrowly avoid running over a rabbit in the car park, oops!
I’m asked to write something about myself for one of those ‘all staff’ introductory emails. Cringe! Resist the urge to tell everyone I’m a trapeze artist and fluent in twelve languages and manage to keep it basic and factual (aka a bit dull).
Spent the rest of the day investigating potential uses of Google+ only to discover that Google+ for business is currently in closed test. Sad times.
Delighted to discover that Leigh (Web Editor) doesn’t drink tea, so I won’t need to keep offering to put the kettle on.